The Clearnet, the typical section of the internet that ordinary people access, is rather well known. What intrigues many is the darknet. However, it should be noted that the darknet functions just as precisely as its openly accessible counterpart. The only difference is that anonymity forms the backbone of the dark web. This makes it so that transactions cannot be traced, and the users employ hidden aliases.
For this reason, it has become a hotbed of vice and criminal activities. It is said that anything that is illegal to acquire in the open internet can be easily obtained from the dark web. A team in New Zealand is out to establish these dark sites’ bearing on the drug trade in the country.
Empirical Research to Be Done
Ongoing research is leaning towards the conclusion that geographically isolated regions harbor the most drug markets. Among these, New Zealand is a notable mention. However, empirical data do not support the research findings, thereby providing some relief for now. It is for this reason that associate professor Chris Wilkins has been tasked with the duty to investigate the level of impact of dark web sites to the prohibited substances sale in New Zealand.
The professor, from Massey University, received for this regard an award of $836,000. This grant is for the accomplishment of the study. His team has already set out a plan of action for the research. They will use web-bots to gather a rough idea of the volume of illegal substance trade and the price tags that the significant drugs go for in New Zealand. They hope to collect this data from the top seven websites which are ranked by size.
An additional brilliant idea they will use for investigation is to conduct analyses of the wastewater in New Zealand. From this, they can tabulate the consumption of different drugs in the country which can be almost painful to establish by means of conducting surveys.
Technological advancement aids the Dark Web.
The online drug trade has soared to great heights. All thanks to the ability to surf anonymously on the dark web. Even more, access to the dark web is not as open as the clearnet is. One will need special kinds of tools equipped with security features capable of hiding identity to access the dark web. One standard tool is the Tor browser which is used to gain access to the dark web. The browser uses multiple nodes to route the signal, so it cannot be traceable.
Apart from anonymity, another factor that has contributed to the rise in drug trade across the internet is technological advancements. These have made the dark web more versatile and able to be camouflaged much better from the authorities. Take for instance encryption which allows the sending of data packets between two nodes in a jumbled up manner. This is so that whoever intercepts the data cannot make meaning out of it unless they have the encryption key. The encryption key decrypts the data into a more sensible format.
The most significant boost to this fiasco has been the introduction of cryptocurrencies. A good mention is the popular Bitcoin. These online payment currencies have brought a new dimension to the dark market. Users can use them to pay for their purchases instead of common hard currency. The advantage is that they are hard to trace and thus allow the users to trade without fear of the authorities.